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This is a teacher or user controlled, realistic 3d simulation of an experiment that allows you to measure the internal resistance of a single dry cell. The idea of a battery having a resistance can seem counter intuitive. Surely the battery is the opposite of a resistor it is creating a current, not preventing one? However, this is not correct. The chemical processes in a battery creates the movement of electrons, but these still have to overcome whatever the resistance, no matter how small, of the battery itself. If it helps think of the battery as something that incorporates a resistor, then you can treat this resistor exactly as you would any other resistor in the circuit.

The user needs to complete the circuit by clicking on pairs of connectors to connect them. The user has control of the position of the rheostat slider and the power to the circuit. The user is free to move anywhere within the laboratory in order to interact with the apparatus.

The video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LepWpjZTAmM

The simulation is perfect for demonstrating this experiment in front of the class but can also be used by students in a variety of ways:

Directly to prepare for a laboratory experiment by familiarising them with the equipment to be used and the methodology of the experiment.

As revision for an experiment that has previously been performed in the laboratory.

For home-learning where there is no access to a laboratory.

To make up for an experiment missed due to sickness.

As a personal experience of an experiment normally only performed by the teacher in front of the class.
Download contains full instructions on using the simulation, a PowerPoint giving full instructons including a video , background on the Physics and link to the simulation.

The Virtual Physics Laboratory of which this simulation is a part, has the Association for Science Education’s Green Tick of Approval. More information can be found on our website at www.virtual-science.co.uk.

I’ve found your software very useful when a concept comes up with pupils and I have to demonstrate something really quickly without having the time to set up a formal experiment for them. The graphics are great and I really like the ability to move around the classroom and observe the experiment from different aspects. I am far more likely to go to one of your interactive experiments if it’s demonstrating something that we don’t have equipment for.“

Andrew McPhee Wellington School

I thought that the controls were pretty easy to get used to and the detail in the apparatus was excellent being able to zoom in and see the set up of the multi-meter and read scales, being careful of parallax. This type of software is most useful in experiments which can’t be done in the lab like the gravity on the moon or where the equipment is too expensive or difficult to use like the Millikan Oil drop.”

​Physics Scholar Coordinator.


This product is for a single user and is for personal and classroom use only. Copying any part of this resource is forbidden and violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Purchasing and downloading this product is your consent to these conditions.

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Last Update: 4th December 2023
Released: 28th November 2023